Progesterone is primarily produced in the ovaries and adrenal glands, though some is produced in the brain. It is well known as a female hormone, but men have it too, as they do oestrogens. In men progesterone is almost entirely produced by the adrenal glands but some is made in the testes.
Progesterone declines with age. In perimenopause, progesterone levels drop dramatically, giving way to a phenomenon known as ‘oestrogen dominance‘. Oestrogens also decline but not so dramatically. Oestrogen and progesterone work as a team preparing the lining of the uterus for pregnancy, they also nurture and maintain the growth and regeneration of the female reproductive tissues, among other things.
Why we need progesterone
Progesterone does so much for our bodies. Progesterone is an absolute for pregnancy and the survival of the foetus – without the correct amounts of progesterone, a pregnancy cannot be successful. Progesterone is responsible for protecting the heart and bones and has an anticancer effect, especially against that of breast cancer and endometrial cancer. It can also help prevent endometriosis.
Progesterone helps prevent PMS and supports sex drive. It protects against fibrocystic breasts, restores correct cell oxygen levels, normalises zinc and copper levels, protects again breast and endometrial cancer, facilitates thyroid function, regulates blood sugar levels, stimulates cells for bone building, acts as a natural antidepressant, improves energy, vitality, and endurance, normalises blood clotting. It helps women sleep peacefully, helps her body use and eliminate fats, it increases her metabolic rate, promotes a healthy immune system, and the body rids itself of if quickly – unlike progestins. Also, progesterone doesn’t cause weight gain, as do progestins. Progestins are synthetic hormones, produced by the pharmaceutical industries. They are dangerous, confuse the body and have been found to cause cancer, among other things.
Plummeting progesterone levels
When levels of progesterone plummet in perimenopause it causes very, ‘assertive – I want to take over your body symptoms’, including: anxiety and stress, abdominal cramps, aggression, very heavy periods, trouble sleeping, weepiness, hot flushes and night sweats, early miscarriage, infertility, painful and tender, swollen breasts, headaches linked to periods, weight gain, swollen extremities, excessive water retention, low bone density and uterine fibroids (these are benign growths on the uterus).
Progesterone does so, so much for us; when levels decline our body and its systems become imbalanced and hormonal havoc begins within the body. We will be left with unopposed oestrogen resulting in ‘oestrogen dominance’. This is not a good place to be, it leaves women in a vulnerable situation, defenceless against disease and cancer. We do not need to get there. We have an option. Balance your hormones.